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Exclusive: Jigsaw abandons Kew 159 a year after relaunch

Robinson Webster Holdings is to sell or close down its Kew 159 fascia, just under a year after relaunching it, to focus on its core Jigsaw business.

The decision to sell the loss-making 16-store fascia follows a strategic review by the parent company. It will see the sale or closure of 16 standalone stores, 22 concessions and an online division. If the fascia is not sold, some stores may be converted to a combination of Jigsaw, Jigsaw Menswear and third parties, according to a company spokesman.

Robinson Webster is entering into a consultation period with its shareholders, staff and other stakeholders to examine whether Kew can be sold as a going concern. It said redundancies will be “inevitable”, though it declined to say how many jobs would go. 

“It is hoped the orderly closure will allow staff to find roles in other parts of the group or elsewhere,” a Robinson Webster spokesman added.

Kew 159 will continue to trade through spring 12 and into autumn 12 with existing stock. It will not produce a spring 13 collection.

Last summer, the brand, originally called Kew, relaunched as Kew 159, with higher price points and a more contemporary feel. In September, Kew 159’s London High Street Kensington store was the first to launch with the new branding and fascia.

Since launching in 2003, Kew’s turnover peaked at £22.1m in 2010, but with a loss of £300,000 on an EBITDA basis.

Jigsaw recently re-launched its Jigsaw Menswear brand, in-store and online, with spring 12 the first menswear collection since 1999. It currently has 55 stand-alone stores and Jigsaw, and according to the company, is currently seeing strong performance, with trading up 8.6% like-for-like in the year-to-date.

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